It’s getting warm out and many of us are dusting off our bicycles ready for riding season! Whether you bike to work everyday, rain or shine or if you are just a casual rider enjoying your bicycle as a weekend outing it’s good to remember to supplement your cycling with some stretches and mobility work.
Keep Your Body Balanced
Because the movement pattern of cycling is internal hip rotation like pretty much every other activity we do, sit, stand, walk, run, sleep it’s good to remember to find different ranges of motion to keep your body balanced and healthy!
Most people who engage in physical activity or even if you sit or stand for long periods of time can benefit from some practice of self-myofascial release with a foam roller, massage ball or other massage tool. Some of the key places to remember to hit are: Calves, Hamstrings, Glutes, Quads, Hip Flexors, and the Neck. This will keep the muscles supple and help break up adhesions built up from exercising.
Increase Spine Mobility
Because cycling means your shoulders and back are rounded forward, just like if you sit at a desk all day you will want to incorporate some backbending and chest opening movements. Something as simple as some cat cow flows, with sphinx or cobra thrown in will help and keep the chest open and the low back strong. Remembering to keep your core engaged while you ride to keep your back strong is another good way to keep your low back from getting too sore.
Strengthen & Stretch the Shoulders
Strengthening the shoulders and adding flexibility in the shoulder girdle is also important which can be done with shoulder extension exercises and dolphin pose to forearm plank holds. You can also use a prop like a yoga strap, band or any piece of long fabric to help you move through your shoulder space, threading in full range all the way up over your head, down your back, and all the way forward.
Change Your Patterns
A lot of our favorite outdoor activities like cycling, running, walking, or even hiking can be supported and you can benefit from adding in range of movement exercises, supplemental stretching and self-myofascial release. Another idea is to add movements that you don’t normally get into your day, for example take a figure 4 stretch where both legs are a 90 degree bend but one ankle crossed over the other thigh in as part of how you sit. If you bike a lot and then sit at a desk or even if you have a standing desk find time to open up your hips and stretch out the stabilizers and glutes. Adding just this simple change of pattern will keep your hips from getting so tight and immobile and it will actually improve your performance. Having muscle that is both strong and flexible is muscle at its best. The strength and flexibility combined allow the muscle to be the most efficient and to be able to do more with better stamina, recovery time and then you are less prone to injury.
But finding some time to stretch, move differently and connect with your body after your workouts is the biggest part, even if it’s just a few cat/cows and then you put your legs up the wall! Give this sequence below a try and see if it starts to help you with your activities!
Sequence from Video:
- Cat/Cow - add sphinx or cobra
- Hamstring stretches with block
- Lizard pose
- ½ splits
- 3-legged Down Dog sequence to strengthen glutes
- Dolphin pose
- Shoulder extension – walk hands back behind
- Full range movement all the way down and up
- Shoulder Threading with strap
- Hip mobility sequence seated & on backs
- Cobbler Pose
- King Arthur stretch - hips at wall & hips off wall
- Supported bridge pose with blocks
- Chest Opener
- Legs up the wall
About the Author
Clarissa is a 500 hour RYT teaching weekly classes in the Quad Cities IL/IA since 2014. She also travels extensively presenting workshops around the country and leading international retreats. She teaches what might be considered Vinyasa style classes mostly but loves instructing beginners and teaching new innovative flows. After a decade as a student Clarissa enjoys sharing what she has learned and helping her students shape their future through yoga and movement. She has had a dedicated Ashtanga practice for over four years that has fueled her desire to learn and share the power of yoga with as many people as she can! She loves being a YogaClub Box Tribe leader and the favorite brands she’s received are, Teeki, Nux, and Free People, though she can’t wait to try all the other brands!